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As we had no money to buy fat with when I was a girl we made our own by rendering it when we killed an animal We cut off the fat cleaned it up and then cut it up finely with a knife Then we put it in our big pots and cooked it until all that remained was the cracklings floating in the boiling fat We drained off as much fat as we could poured it into pails and stored it in the root cellar We used this to make pies and to cook with We put the cracklings away for another day when we would make soap out of them The cracklings still had a lot of fat in them In fact the main reason we cooked the soap was to dissolve or disintegrate the cracklings into the soap On the day we made soap we took the cracklings and put them in our big copper kettle As they were heating on the stove we added our lye sprinkling the crystals on top of the cracklings Then we added the water and started stirring it We boiled this mixture until the cracklings disappeared If there were any little pieces of meat in the cracklings they wouldnt dissolve and we had to take them out with a wooden spoon or lift them out on the end of our stirring stick We continued to stir and boil it checking it every 20 minutes or so to see if it was done We did this by taking a spoon full out and pouring it on a plate We knew it was done when it hardened to the consistency of soft cream cheese after it cooled Sometimes there were streaks of water running through it If this happened we knew it needed more water We poured more water in boiled it some more and then tried it again If it ran off the stirring stick like
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